impactnews: impactHR Moves to New Offices to Accommodate Continued Growth

impactHR is getting ready to move its headquarters to new, larger office space in Columbia, MD to accommodate continued business growth.

impactHR, which celebrated its tenth year in business in 2016, will leverage its new office space to provide expanded services for its clients while providing new internal operational efficiencies. The new offices also will provide impactHR consultants with improved, state-of-the-art work space to facilitate internal and external collaboration and communication, while providing the company with further room for growth.

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impactHR’s new offices in Columbia, MD

“We’re truly excited to relocate to our new office space in Columbia,” says Kelly Mitchell, Principal of impactHR. “We’re especially pleased to be able to move into a new building with significantly more space while remaining in our home city of Columbia. More than anything, this move represents our continued ironclad commitment to serving our clients and helping them foster business growth through effective management of their employees.”

The new office address for impactHR, as of Monday, January 30, will be:

9881 Broken Land Parkway, Suite 302
Columbia, MD 21046
Phone: 443-741-3900

Through its first decade in business, impactHR continues its focus on serving companies and organizations of all sizes and industry sectors ranging from healthcare, engineering, construction, financial services, retail, education, IT and technology, manufacturing, hospitality and more.

If you have any questions about our office move or any HR issue, please contact an impactHR team member; via email at; or by phone 410-312-7882 (through tomorrow only at this number).

How to Handle Payroll When the Minimum Wage Increases

In 2017, Maryland and 20 other states have already raised or will raise their minimum wage levels. Minimum wage laws typically go into effect on January 1 or July 1, yet payroll periods often end up being out of sync with these mandates.

So, in either of these time-frames, when do employees need to start being paid the new rate in their state? For a minimum wage increase that took effect January 1, for example, this meant all work done on or after 12:00am on January 1 must be paid at the new higher rate. This occurs regardless of whether this time and day is in the middle of a pay period or even in the middle of a shift.

In addition, know that employers do not have to pay more for hours worked before January 1, even if during the same pay period or same shift. Your pay periods and pay dates are not tied to the wage increase – this is all about when work was done.

Note that for Maryland employers, the state’s minimum wage rises to $9.25 (from $8.75) effective July 1, 2017. Learn more

HR Strategic Planning – Where to Start?

Businesses and organizations typically undertake some degree of strategic planning whether in the new year’s period or mid-year. Strategic planning, to be sure, can help organizations understand where they want to go in the months ahead and how they plan to get there.

In conventional strategic planning, the focus tends to be on the organization holistically or by specific department, such as HR, comprised of the identification of key objectives and goals. This is commonly followed by the development of relevant plans aimed at helping the organization work toward achieving those objectives and goals. Effective strategic planning also should include a mechanism to measure progress toward the implementation of your overall plan.

For your company or organization’s HR function, consider this scratch list of key HR topics worth including in an HR-focused strategic planning agenda.

Talent and skills assessment

The skills and abilities of current employees must be tied to meeting the demands of the growth. The challenge for employers is to identify what employee talent exists today and why they are successful vs. what talent is needed to meet the strategic plan for the company. Employers should consider developing a skills inventory of all employees to help plan for employee development activities.

Identifying the next “leaders” of the organization

Some employers overlook the need to conduct succession planning for their leadership. Throughout the company or organization, consider developing leaders from within to improve retention of top performers and to retain the  existing knowledge base.

Key questions: have you identified your top performers? If so, have you planned a detailed development program to provide the right resources and tools for their success?

Reviewing and updating written job descriptions

Updating job descriptions sounds like a task easy to put off for later, but consider taking this on as part of the strategic planning process. Job descriptions – when properly researched, drafted, implemented and updated – supply HR professionals with effective criteria for hiring decisions and employee performance evaluations.

Key questions: do you have detailed job descriptions in place? Are your written job descriptions up to date? Do they accurately depict the positions’ required responsibilities, knowledge, skills and abilities?

Formulating a comprehensive training plan for managers and supervisors

Another component of HR-focused strategic planning should center on the need for organizations to train their managers and supervisors in HR-related topics and issues. Employers should consider devising and implementing an ongoing practical curriculum that focuses on training supervisors in HR policy and practice.

Key questions: when is the last time your organization provided relevant training for those charged with its management? What are the benefits and impediments to doing so?

Reminder: OSHA 300A Forms Must Be Posted by February 1

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all employers required to maintain the OSHA 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses post a summary of the previous year’s (2016) log between February 1 and April 30 this year (even if no incidents occurred in 2016). The summary (OSHA Form 300A) must be certified by a company executive and posted in a conspicuous location where notices to employees are customarily posted.

All employers which had more than 10 employees at any point during 2016 are covered by this requirement unless they qualify as part of an exempt low-risk industry.

Be sure also to note that OSHA, beginning in July this year, will begin a phased-in rule requiring employers to electronically submit the summary of injuries and illnesses to OSHA.

Federal Contractors: Staying in Compliance with HR policies

As the U.S. economy continues its gradual return to a growth path, it’s always important to recognize the role federal contractors play in driving economic growth and vitality across Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia (DC).

Even during the recent sequestration budget era, our region continues to stand among the nation’s top recipients of federal contracting activity. Maryland, Virginia and DC, in fact, were among the top five states in total federal procurement dollars from 2010-2014, according to a Northern Virginia Regional Commission report.

What this means, of course, is our region benefits from a near continually replenished jobs machine for many people in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. While Virginia is home to numerous defense-related agencies and bases and DC is the seat of the federal government, Maryland on its own is home to 30 federal agencies (either with headquarters or major operations located there).

All told, while the federal government awards more than $500 billion annually to federal contractors, less than 200,000 companies win federal contracts annually, according to an estimate by the Government Contractors Association.

With this in mind, consider the vital work federal contractors conduct whether to meet myriad defense, intelligence and national security needs or to meet the wide range of civilian agency needs, such as public health, emergency management, law enforcement and more. The talent and experience federal contractor teams bring to advancing our government agencies’ complex missions at home and abroad is critical to maintaining our nation’s overall strength and prosperity.

As it stands now, with a new administration settling in place, opportunities to get involved with selling your products or services to the government likely will remain. Indeed, for those companies that have succeeded in winning and conducting government contracting work, they know it’s a hard road to travel. The bottom line is doing business with the federal government means adhering to a complex and comprehensive array of rules and regulations. Chief among those are in the human resources (HR) area.

While there are many HR regulations government contractors need to comply with, here are three key factors critical to heed if you are a federal contractor or aim to become one.

First, Affirmative Action Programs: under Executive Order 11246, administered by the U.S. Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), federal contractors and subcontractors who do over $10,000 in government business in one year are prohibited from discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

This Executive Order requires government contractors “to take affirmative action to insure that equal opportunity is provided in all aspects of their employment.” To comply with this rule, all government contractors with 50 or more employees and $50,000 or more in government contracts are required to develop written affirmative action programs (AAP). As the OFCCP says, a “written affirmative action program helps the contractor identify and analyze potential problems in the participation and utilization of women and minorities in the contractor’s workforce.” There are also related rules in place prohibiting employment discrimination against veterans and persons with disabilities.

Second, the Service Contract Act (SCA): the SCA requires contractors and subcontractors performing services on prime contracts in excess of $2,500 to pay service employees the local prevailing wage (including benefits and overtime) paid on similar work and projects. The SCA stipulates that federal contractors are required to pay the federal minimum wage to their employees for contracts at or below $2,500.

Third, the Defense Contracting Audit Agency (DCAA): if you do contracting work for the U.S. Department of Defense, you likely know of the DCAA. This DoD agency, established in 1965 to avoid overcharges and overpayments on defense-related contracting expenditures, performs contract audits to ensure taxpayer dollars are subject to “fair and reasonable contract prices.” The DCAA also ensures contractors adhere to the Federal Acquisition Regulations, including those for HR, that apply to all federal contractors serving defense and civilian agencies and departments. It’s critical for federal contractors to stay in compliance with DCAA. With non-compliance, your overall contracting status with the federal government can be revoked.

While this is just a brief review of several key HR-related regulations pertinent to federal contractors, the regulatory landscape for the near-term will be in flux. The key to succeeding as a federal contractor is maintaining the balance between providing your product or service offering to the federal government while staying in compliance with its contractor rules and regulations.

New Jobs Data Show Gains for MD, VA and DC

New US Department of Labor (DOL) data show MD, VA and DC each posted gains in overall employment between December 2015 and December 2016. Maryland, according to an article in Governing magazine, saw a 1.1% total year-over-year jobs gain (2.71M jobs in December 2016 from 2.68M the previous year). For Virginia, job growth was 1.3% during this period (3.95M in Dec. 2016 from 3.90M in the previous year). And the District of Columbia showed a 2.3% gain in overall jobs (786K in 2016 from 768K in 2015). Learn more

impactHR Sponsors Women in Government Contracting Leadership Forum, March 8

impactHR is very proud to sponsor the Howard County Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Government Contracting Leadership Forum, Women in Government Contracting Leadership Forum 2017Wednesday, March 8, featuring a number of speakers, including Marissa Levin, CEO of Successful Culture, and Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, Global Accounting Strategy Director for Oracle. Learn more